Blackfoot High alumnus helps light up community

BLACKFOOT – It's the chance of a lifetime. Three professional Broadway actors will conduct a 3-day workshop culminating in a public performance Aug. 20. The entire event, "Broadway Lights Up Blackfoot" is a fundraiser organized by the Blackfoot High School Class of 1968 to purchase a new digital display marquee for the Blackfoot Performing Arts Center and BHS.
When members of the class of '68 toured BHS during their reunion they were impressed by contributions other alumni had made to the school. Members of the class of '68 were inspired to once again leave their mark on their alma mater. Alumnus Gail Johnsen recruited her son Clark who started his career performing regionally as Jake in "Paint Your Wagon" at the Jackson Hole Playhouse and later as Will Parker in "Oklahoma!" at Tuacahn Amphitheater in St. George, Utah. Before graduating from BYU's Music/Dance/Theater program, Clark traveled through Europe and the Caribbean as a singer and dancer on Holland America Cruise Lines. He has performed on Broadway and Broadway National Tours in La Cage Aux Folles, 42nd Street, The Addams Family, High School Musical, Mamma Mia and Mary Poppins.
Clark will bring his expertise plus a few colleagues to the Blackfoot stage.
Joining him will be Nathan Balser, an Assistant Professor of Dance at Western Wyoming Community College. He is originally from Springville, Utah. While attending both BYU and the University of Utah, he worked summer theatre jobs including Jackson Hole’s Lighthouse Theatre, Opryland USA’s Way Out West, Sundance Summer Theatre, and Tuacahn Center for the Arts. Nathan also worked as a member of Repertory Dance Theatre for two years in Salt Lake City after finishing his degree and then moved to Las Vegas to perform in Mamma Mia! Balser later moved to New York where he performed in Legally Blonde, Damn Yankees, 9 to 5: The Musical, and Promises, Promises on Broadway, and others.
Actress Heather Ferguson Pond has trained at Brigham Young University and Old Globe Theatre Classes for acting and ballroom at Step NYC and BYU for dance. She has professional recording experience. She has performed on Broadway in Jersey Boys and Les Miserables.
"We feel that working with these talented and experienced actors will be a real confidence-builder for young people and and adults who are interested in being part of the workshop," said Gail.
The event workshops will run Thursday, Aug. 18 through Saturday, Aug. 20. Registration is open to all 12 years and older. The cost is $75 per person. Participants can expect to learn two dances, scene study and improvisation, and be part of several musical numbers. Some may be asked to present solos. The public is invited to a performance Aug. 20 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets will be available at Zion's Bank, Tweedy's Music and at the door or by calling the BPAC at 317-5508. The cost will be $15 and donations will be accepted. For registration information call 317-5508.